How I Get Over 25 Speaking Gigs By Adding People On Facebook

I get many speaking gigs requests every year. For example, here is one of the emails I got yesterday from a conference organizer. 

One of 25 plus speaking invitations I get every year

Pretty cool, huh? 

The funniest part? I don’t feel I am anywhere close to some of other speakers on this list, including Dr. A.P.J Abdul Kalam who was the Former President of India, Ratan Tata who is chairman emeritus of Tata Sons. And these people get speaking gigs left and right.

I love speaking. In fact, to date, I have probably spoken to at least 10 events related to marketing, and entrepreneurship. My first event was when I first started in the business world at the center for advanced professionals (CAPS) to the Accenture management consulting, which was instrumental in the formation of my entrepreneurial career. 

It was a lot of fun and something that I would continue to do. I spent a considerable amount of time researching other speaking related events, and even getting invited to speak all over the world from India, Dubai, and even Malta!

But it didn’t start out like that.

I was struggling for quite a while to find speaking gigs and even had a call with Neil Patel to discuss what he does to get speaking gigs. There were two pieces of advice he did give me:

  1. Blog more
  2. Connect more
  3. Help More

And today, I am going to teach you how I got invited to over 25 events by simply adding people to my personal Facebook.

But first, some points to keep in mind:

Most conferences you attend or speak at won’t be worth your time

Being entrepreneurs and business owners we have many opportunities to buy back time by hiring employees, executive assistants, etc. but the last thing you want is to go to a conference, spend time traveling abroad, and not find any benefit. 

The reality is, even though speaking is a lot of fun, it can but be extremely tiresome. Especially if the organizers don’t have any experience running conferences.

Of course, you have to start somewhere and speak at small conferences before you can get paid up to $15,000 per gig including travel, accommodation, and food.

Is your business benefiting?

One extremely important thing to remember is unless you are a full-time speaker; you have a business to run. I like to think that at every speaking event I go to, I can fit in some kind of benefit for the businesses I am running. 

For example, my talk in the summer at the India Institute of Management- Indore, I had an opportunity to speak to almost 100 people, which may seem small, but almost all of them were sold on Insightfully, and half of them signed up.

Not only this, but we gave Insightfully access to everyone at the conference, which is at least 200 people.

Lastly, there were powerful speakers that can potentially turn into business development deals in the future such as Managing Directors of Multi-Billion Dollar venture capital firms, fast going startups and even CEO’s of huge companies like Infosys. 

Be careful about Facebook’s limits

Facebook restricts a number of people that you can add on Facebook. For example, if you add people too quickly, Facebook will block you temporarily. 

Similarly, if you add people and the people that you added say they don’t know you, you might get temporarily banned on Facebook for 48 hours for adding friends. Just be mindful.

With all of that out of the way, let’s get into it how adding people on Facebook can amount to speaking opportunities and generate revenue for your business. 

1. Find people who are prominent in the space you are in and get speaking gigs

Depending on your area of expertise, you should find the right person that you can target.

A very easy way to find exactly who that person would be is from a conference website. For example, I looked up Startup Istanbul.

If you want to speak at a conference, these are the types of people that you should target. An easy way to manage this is to create a list of every prominent startup entrepreneurs that speaks.

The important part is to find people that actually speak at conferences that you could speak at, not anomalies that are hard to reach. An example of an entrepreneur who I would consider an anomaly would be Jack Welsh because even though he is an incredibly successful entrepreneur, he is not a regular speaker that will speak at events you can speak at.

The rule of thumb I like to use is to find people that are somewhat accessible by either 2nd or 3rd-degree connections.

2. Look those people up on Facebook and “friend” them

Once you have found that person, the next step is to add them on Facebook. In this case, I’m going to try to add Dave McClure, but there is an ample list of people that fit this category.

This may seem hard at first because they may have thousands or people that follow them, and unfortunately, Facebook caps friend limits at 5000 people.

If you can’t add them, try helping them in some way. Look through their social feeds, and try to find exact opportunities that you can help that individual.

For example, I helped Arianna Huffington by noticing that she is doing a book launch and offered to help spread the word in Boston at Northeastern University. Luckily me helping Arianna led to her inviting me to the Huff Post Arabi Launch, and meeting a few executives at Al Jazeera and Visa. 

I loved meeting Arianna Huffington

Even if you can friend them, you should still figure out how to help them. Who knows, you may be able to help someone who is considered extremely influential, and they may refer you directly to that speaking event that they can’t attend.

3. Discover who engages with them

So, once you have added Dave McClure to your Facebook, the next step is to figure out who engages with him the most. This may seem extremely complicated because there isn’t technology that allows you to do this on Facebook, but if you spend some time observing the people who like, comment, or engage with a person, it becomes fairly easy to do.

The best way to do this is to look at their most engaged Facebook posts, or better yet, posts where they speak at events. For example, check out this picture of Dave with Jack Ma of Alibaba. 

Dave McClure meeting Jack Ma

What you should do is scroll through and figure out who are influencers or people that also get the most gigs or response from the influencer (in this case Dave).

Those are the best people to add.

4. Add them

Depending on whether you already have added friends in the startup space before, you can go through and add those. An easy way to look through this is to identify whether certain people have mutual friends with you or not.

The best chances are there is someone in those comments that comments “thanks so much for being there” or “thanks for sharing your knowledge with us!”

This is exactly what happened on Neil’s photo at a recent conference he spoke at.

Neil Patel at a speaking engagement

Chances are, there is someone who has commented who is a conference organizer thanking the speaker for speaking, etc.

5. Introduce yourself to your new friends

Just because this is the web doesn’t mean you should just add people and let them hanging! With every person I personally add, I try to reach out to introduce myself and ask how I can be helpful. Best case, they do business with you, and worst case, you have a person with a certain expertise you can go to for in the future. 

Pro tip: For influencers be careful not to send just messages on Facebook. Most of these individuals get inundated with messages and it may be harder to build a long lasting relationship with them. My suggestion is to casually reach out on Facebook, but then offer to jump on a call and see how you can help them. 

Here’s an example of an influencer who I added using this technique who I later reached out to on Facebook messenger and email. Keep in mind he speaks at multiple conferences all over the world and runs a multiple million dollar companies.

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I had a great call with him and even got a quote for him in my next Inc article which he was extremely grateful for. After our discussion, I got this response from him.

Chirag helping out a founder with a multi-million dollar business

In literally 30 minutes he introduced me to a few conference organizers and I was off to my next speaking gig!

But keep in mind, this doesn’t happen every time. For every 10 people, I have this conversation with I get about 2 people that introduce me to events they can’t attend.

6. Use content to engage your new friends

Most of the people you are adding are going to be fantastic people, but how do you play the long game with them? 

That’s where I like to give an analogy similar to email marketing. Most bloggers know that the list is everything. Similarly, I like to say that engaging content with friends on Facebook is the key to getting speaking gigs. This is why I use Feedly and Buffer to schedule 4-5 of the most helpful articles to share with my new friends. 

When you open your Feedly account, you will get the opportunity to add topics that are relevant to what you do. In my case, I add topics such as Brand Marketing, Social Media Marketing, SEO, Content Marketing, and Inbound Marketing. Here’s an example of an article that came up in my feedly feed. 

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Once you have found an article you like, click it and select the icon on the right and select the client you are going to use to publish the article. 

Screen Shot 2016-05-21 at 11.19.35 AMI suggest buying the premium version of Feedly because you will be able to use other products like IFTT (If This Than That) to schedule tweets automatically from Feedly that are “saved” straight to your Buffer. That means all you need to do is save the articles you want in Feedly and IFTT will automatically go and tweet them using Buffer at the times you want!

To set up this integration, go to IFTT.com, create an account, and type in “Buffer” in the search box. Scroll down and you will find the integration between Buffer and Feedly. 

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Using this integration you will get articles that are interesting sent straight to your buffer and posted on your facebook account.

Remember, people want to be associated with individuals that are constantly posting interesting useful content, and using this technique is a fantastic way to do that. 

Conclusion

The power of Facebook comes from refining and distributing content directly to your friends. I love asking the people that call me to speak at events, how they heard about me, and almost every single one says “we’ve been following you on Facebook for 2 months, and you post interesting links, and content constantly”.

That’s amazing to me, and something all entrepreneurs can leverage if they are strategic about adding people. 

How do you get speaking gigs? 

4 powerful things that changed when I got an accountability buddy

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Last week I was having lunch with a friend of mine in Boston and he was asking me how to break into consulting, and speaking.

When I thought about it, I realized that there were so many opportunities and what I call “right place in the right time” moments that had come my way that made it easier for me to get into consulting or speaking.

But one of the biggest things I realized was that the common denominator was people.

I have found that relationships with others and the ability to add value to others are the basis around business. In fact, most successful business people credit their success to relationships with others. 

I’ve been lucky to be a part of great startup communities and have learned from some of the best entrepreneurs in the game. But things really changed when I got an accountability buddy to tackle some of the things that I had been struggling with for months.

For example, do you feel like you start a diet and then fail every single day? 

Do you promise yourself you are going to wake up and read a book every morning?

Until it becomes a habit, an accountability buddy can be the difference between success and failure. 

How do you pick an accountability buddy?

There are many ways to do this, but what I have found works best is if there is someone who is in your city, and shares a similar goal or vision as you do.

When I tried doing the slow carb diet with one of my best friend’s Jon, it was a lot easier to do it because there was someone I saw every day who was pushing for me to fight through the days I just wanted to quit and eat a slice of pizza. People that are apart of your support system can be great people for this, but be careful that you don’t get too comfortable. 

If you don’t have someone in your city, you need to, at the least, find someone who shares the same vision for what you want in life. For example, my friend Divya shares the same love for meditation as I do, and values waking up early. Divya is the perfect person to have as an accountability partner because she has a shared vision as I do.

Here are 2 ingredients that I have found work best when looking for an accountability buddy:

1. Share a similar vision or goals

2. Are going to tough it out with you and not give up

It can be hard at first, but once you have this accountability buddy you need to determine some boundaries and set a basic way to hold each other accountable. For example, with Divya and I, we have a rule where we both are up and out of our beds at 5:30.

We automatically text each other asking if the other person is up, and if they don’t respond, we call till the other person wakes up! After doing this for about a week, I can never fall back asleep past 5:30, but Divya and I still hold each other accountable.

What are examples of bad accountability buddies?

In short, these are generally people that don’t have a shared vision or goal that you have. I also think (depending on who you are and what you react best to) having someone who will be upset if you don’t make it on time, or will keep you accountable is often the best person.

I have tried this with roommates who are naturally on the lazier side and have failed multiple times because they don’t’ have the ingredients for successful accountability buddies. Similarly, people that truly look out for you such as a significant other or family member don’t work as well in my experience.

Here are 4 powerful things that changed when I got an accountability buddy.

1. Someone was always waiting

Every day my alarm rings at 5:25 AM. It doesn’t matter whether I am in Dubai, Mumbai, or Boston, I need to wake up because my accountability buddy is waiting for me. Because I don’t want to disappoint them, I sometimes wake up at 5 AM and wait because I don’t want to be the loser who doesn’t call in.

In fact, there have been a few times where I don’t call and my buddy got frustrated because I didn’t respond or pick up the phone. That feeling of having someone always waiting for you can be nerve-wracking, and can be natural motivation to nail your goal.

2. I surrounded myself with aligned thinkers and doers

It is extremely invigorating to wake up and immediately do something worthwhile with people who are aligned with where you want to be in life.

For example, I wake up, brush my teeth, and start meditating at 5:50 AM, every single morning. Afterward, I would usually have a call to discuss what we felt during our meditation, and having a call with someone who is aligned with where you want to be is motivating.

I found that those people are ones that I can usually depend on upon, relate to, and even go to for struggles I am having in my day. For example, with my friend Jon, we would constantly talk about how difficult slow carb was.

And for us, that was extremely helpful.

3. I had a different level of discipline

Waking up at the same time every day has a certain level of commitment and focus that I otherwise wouldn’t have felt.

Like many navy seals mention, doing something productive or something that moves the needle every morning is the start of a successful morning for most people.

4. My routine started to formulate

One of the most important things that successful entrepreneurs do is have a set routine.

I read a fantastic book by the founder of Dilbert who discusses how he failed his way to success. One of the biggest takeaways I got from that book was that developing a routine is incredibly important to being successful.

20 years from now, I want to develop a certain level of routine where I don’t need to think about what I am going to do next, and what optimizes for what I care about most.

In other words, I know at 6:03 AM I am meditating on my meditation chair. There is a certain level of clarity that comes with knowing and being in control of your life.

5. I finally figured out what worked in my life

As most of you know, I love A/B testing life.

This just means I love taking life and continually test what works for me and what doesn’t. The importance like this, similar to marketing, is to test what works to find out what to keep and what to chuck.

For me, accountability buddies are my go to way to accomplish my goals

It’s very similar to having a personal trainer who is constantly waiting for you every day. If that works for you, develop that system and make it work in your favor!

How to Gain a Massive Following on Twitter

How to Manage Twitter Effectively For Digital Marketing

Everyone wants to be considered influential. It helps tremendously if you want to build a brand, grow your company, and develop a true following. But for most, it starts by building a personal brand and luckily twitter is one of the best places for doing just that. 

The business world is full of individuals who say they are good marketers, professionals, etc., but how can someone actually prove that they are good marketers and professionals without showing how much money they have made their clients? We live in a world where social proof is just as important as real proof. 

In regards to business opportunities, one of the easiest ways to increase your chances of success (aside from improving your business) is by increasing your network. With more than two billion people on social media, there are many opportunities to reach other entrepreneurs, innovators, and more importantly, customers.

Although most companies have social media accounts, a majority of them do not have engaged, relevant, drivable content that turns followers into customers. At the end of the day, your marketing efforts should be revenue for your business.

A majority of the time, just having an account will not actively convert customers. In 2014, my goal was to increase my twitter followers, build my personal brand as an entrepreneur, and drive revenue for my business.

Here is how you can gain a massive following on twitter that can help you close more sales, and increase a number of leads to your business. 

1. Set up a plan

One of the first reasons why most people do not see the results in anything is because they do not plan.

Want to lose 50 pounds? Well, that doesn’t just happen overnight.

Want to make a million dollars next year? You have to figure out how many businesses will pay you $10k on a retainer for a year, and then find 10 companies who are interested in similar services.

The same goes for social media followers. If you want a certain number of followers you need to plan to hit that amount every day, month, etc..

For example, if you are starting at 0 followers in 2015, and want to make it to 30,000 followers, you have to get about 83 people to consistently follow you every single day, till 2016.

2. Devise a content strategy

Who are the types of people you want on your network? I devised a list of “entrepreneurs” that I am friends with, worked with or hope to work with in the future. Some of these individuals include Guy Kawasaki, Reid Hoffmann, Marc Andreessen, Hunter Walk, and other high power VCs and entrepreneurs.

Surprisingly, a majority of those entrepreneurs I analyzed were very active on twitter, with an average of 200k followers on twitter and a minimum of 30-45 retweets or favorites on each post. 

For a few days, I analyzed the type of content these influencers tweeted, the frequency of tweets, and typical response for each tweet (retweets and favorites).

For example, I analyzed that one of my friends, John Rampton, who tweets a quote every single morning. The best part of a tweet that is a quote is it would drive engagement through the roof, in comparison to traditional blog posts tweets, and niche internet marketing, or SEO related tweets.

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I used HootSuite to schedule about 6-7 tweets every single day.

Generally, my mornings would start with a quote, and at around 10 am EST (based on my twitonomy results for most engagement) I would tweet something that I want traffic for such as a new blog post for my company, or my website.

Another site you can use for this is Buffer, which optimizes your tweets based on your audience on social media. 

The rest of the day needs to focus on 4-5 engaging articles around the brand you want to build. I use getprismatic.com feedly.com to find the best articles that are most relevant to my interests and tweet those.

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Once you have found an article you like, click it and select the icon on the right and select the client you are going to use to publish the article. 

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I suggest buying the premium version of Feedly because you will be able to use other products like IFTT (If This Than That) to schedule tweets automatically from Feedly that are “saved” straight to your Buffer. That means all you need to do is save the articles you want in Feedly and IFTT will automatically go and tweet them using Buffer at the times you want!

To set up this integration, go to IFTT.com, create an account, and type in “Buffer” in the search box. Scroll down and you will find the integration between Buffer and Feedly. 

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In this case, I set up the integration with any new article in the category “marketing” will be sent straight to my Facebook Buffer “Chirag Kulkarni” page. To get the article to tweet, type in the IFTT search box “Facebook Page Twitter” select this integration.

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Be careful not to select the integration which says “Send Facebook page posts to Twitter” because that will only send posts like “I just bought a Ferrari!” to your twitter and no the links from facebook. Follow the instructions similar to integrating Buffer and Feedly and you should immediately get your twitter stream and Facebook page to push interesting content related to the brand and audience you are trying to build and engage!

While you are on Feedly, it may be best to integrate your facebook posts and LinkedIn posts as well. Here is the integration you would want to utilize for that. 

Facebook page to LinkedIn

3. Follow people who are “engaging”

The term “engaging” is a relative term, however, my definition of the term is finding people, or companies that tweet excellent content, and have interaction (meaning retweets and favorites).

On top of this, I would find people or companies in my space of marketing, sales, business development, and strategy that were exceptional on social, such as HubSpot.

From there, I noticed the founders, Brian Halligan, and more importantly, Dharmesh Shah were actively using social media to market their businesses.

Dharmesh’s tweets would get anywhere from 2 to 373 retweets and similar numbers for favorites according to twitonomy, a web application for analyzing users tweets.

You can either do one of two things. You can manually follow the people that retweet or like Dharmesh’s tweets, or you can use a tool like Crowdfire to follow the most engaged followers of a user. I prefer Crowdfire because it’s much faster. 

Once you have created an account on Crowdfire, select the tab on the left that says “Copy Followers”. Type in someone who has an extremely engaged twitter following and is considered a “competitor” to your brand.

Screen Shot 2016-05-21 at 11.34.24 AM

In this case, I picked Murray Newlands. Click the green arrows and Crowdfire will automatically follow the most engaged followers of Murray. Before doing this, I usually retweet one of Murray’s quotes so that I get even more engagement on the people that are now looking at my twitter profile and are thinking whether they should follow me back. 

Most of the followers I follow do follow me back because they see a familiar person (Murray in this case) that I have retweeted. 

4. Engage with them

After following hundreds of people, what is the key to maintaining and keeping them as followers?

I have found the best way to do this is to pay it forward, and be actively involved with people that have followed you, and haven’t yet. This means paying forward a favorite, retweet, or answering a question they may have. Trust me, it will make their day.

Surprisingly, the more time you spend on twitter, the more people you will find as potential clients, which you can reach out to via LinkedIn.

For example, after interacting with an individual named Trevor Dinen on twitter, I connected with him on LinkedIn, which gave me opportunities to share what I was working on, and impact my business.

Conclusion

When I first got a twitter account, I was largely intimidated by how many followers some of my friends and mentors had.

However, after taking it step by step, and analyzing how other people get tangible results, I have realized that it is actually easier.

What are your tips for growing your twitter followers and network?

Why Insightfully and why now

Inisghtfully (1) copy

2015 has started out to be an eventful year. As of now, I have been extremely busy heads down on building out C&M Group, the businesses I advise, my health, and my family.

About 2 months ago, I had a Skype call with a friend of mine, Jared Kleinert who is the cofounder of 2BillionUnder20. He talked about his experiences working with individuals like Keith Ferazzi, and all the lessons he learned about networking. Jared is someone who is really interested human relationships and networking, which inherently is a huge passion of mine.

After visiting many networking events, and asking repeated questions along the lines of “how do you stay in touch with your network”, I continuously heard the same things surrounding “all you have to be is genuine, help others, etc.”.

Although being genuine and helping others is a great trait, it doesn’t get back to the answering the initial question of how can we keep in touch with people in our internal network.

Looking back, I realized I have a network of about 3000 friends on Facebook, 2200 LinkedIn connections, and almost 50,000 twitter followers.

In short, that is a lot of people.

Over these few months, I have come to terms with the fact that there is too much technology and businesses focused around acquiring more connections, and increasing our external network.

I have always been a proponent of finding people I can constantly help, especially as an inspiration from guys like Neil PatelHiten ShahSujan Patel, Greg Skloot, and Dan Martell who are known in the valley as people who just help out of the goodness of their hearts. I experienced this after sending a cold email to Hiten about some advice in building a consulting business and shifting over to Software.

Helping others was one of my reasons for starting events such as Office Hours on chiragkulkarni.com. The goal is to help the entrepreneurial ecosystem as much as possible, with the intent to spread my knowledge gained after building businesses of different heights.

The problem we are solving

As we become older, we have more and more connections piling into our networks. In fact, our generation is the fastest growing generation where business and even relationships are done online. Look at examples such as Tinder, Twitter, chatroulette, etc.

These are all examples of businesses matchmaking two individuals for potential relationships. We see this trend happening, and will continue with the emphasis of technologies such as virtual reality.

Insightfully is solving a problem with the amount of individuals having all these connections, but in their back pocket. This means that whenever I think of helping someone, I am only going to people that I am actively engaged with. Similarly, 99% of us are only engaged with less than 1% of us on a yearly basis, which clearly means that we are underutilizing our network.

Current state of networking

According to many master networkers, there are two examples of networking; good and bad. Networking where we go to networking events and constantly pester people about where we need help is considered bad networking.

For example, if I am an entrepreneur looking for venture capital, I will go and pitch to every VC at that event. Although some see this as effective networking, others see this as defective when creating long lasting relationships.

Good networking involves finding mutually beneficial areas to help each other. Most people are not good networkers.

Most people think that “lesser individuals” are not likely to contribute to more successful individuals.

According to many philosophers, there are four areas of life that people care about. These include the following:

  1. Money
  2. Relationships
  3. Health
  4. Spirituality

This means that most people who are good at one or two of these may not be good at all of them. For example, if someone is rich financially, they may not be rich spiritually. Do you practice meditation? Maybe you can help them significantly.

Maybe someone who is very good at relationships does not do a good job managing their health. If you lost 50 pounds in the past year, you can use that to your benefit and help them in that area.

Introducing Insightfully

Insightfully is a SaaS application (software-as-a-service) application that is focused around taking digital connections and making them personal.

Insightfully will operate on a freemium model and will scan your networks social data (Twitter, Linkedin, Facebook) and give you recommendations in real time regarding where you can provide value using our predictive analytics platform.

When you have Insightfully, you will have the opportunity to describe what your skills are. For example, some of my skills are people, marketing, sales, business development, networking, meditation, and strategy. You will have the opportunity to customize your skillset, or input your skills from LinkedIn or the “likes” section on Facebook. Insightfully uses this to find out where you can provide value.

Here is an example of what Insightfully may pick up on;

John is beginning to blog, and through Insightfully’s software, it has identified that John has been posting quite a bit of content online from his blog.

Because I write for VentureBeat, I will get an insight regarding John’s blog posts.

I will then get…

  1. Notified of a recent Insight that insightfully picked up
  2. Open up your mail client and easily respond to the insight where you can help
  3. Help John get his writing to a larger channel!

Other things that Insightfully will be able to pick up on are direct word for word translations such as questions posed to your network (i.e. “I’m looking for a software developer, does anyone know anyone looking for opportunities?”). The opportunity is endless for teams within large companies such as General electric where many new initiatives are needed and many people within the company may have the skillset to complete the new initiative. Think of insightfully as utilizing in-house talent to not only improve upon processes, but built culture.

You may be saying “Insightfully sounds awesome, but would if I am the only one giving constantly, and never receiving?”

That’s the magic with having a strong network. The more people that have insightfully, the more beneficial it is to your network (and you!). So, sign up for our beta today at insightfully.co

If you have any feedback for me, or are passionate about people and human-to-human relationships, I want to talk to you.

Welcome to Insightfully. Sign up for out beta at insightfully.co

5 reasons to attend conferences

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Lately, I have been chatting with many of my colleagues regarding attending conferences. Most of the entrepreneurs I know love to give back to the community, so attending, and potentially speaking is one of the easiest ways to get in front of a large amount of people and impact.

 

That being said, there is a large subset of entrepreneurs who believe that attending conferences is a complete waste of time, and would rather be running their business from the office.

 

For many bootstrapped entrepreneurs, it may be difficult to justify the cost of a conference. Think about all the costs associated? Flight, hotel, conference attire, conference fee, drinks, food, transportation. It really adds up!

 

Running bootstrapped businesses my whole life, I can understand the challenges attributed to budgeting for a conference.

 

Regardless, I am a huge fan of conferences, for many different reasons. If you are an entrepreneur, here are 5 reasons why you should attend conferences. Hopefully my points will justify the dollar amount.

 

1. Give back to the community

One of my favorite things to do Is give back to the community in whatever way I can. Starting my entrepreneurial journey, I relieved a lot of help for mentors who devoted their time to the development of my team, my company, and even myself.

 

You may be thinking, how in the world can I give back to the community by going to a conference.

 

Well, and easy answer is to support other entrepreneurs. For example, if you are from Boston, you can attend local events such as Inbound to support HubSpot and other small businesses.

 

Another way to think about giving back is to try to inspire someone at the event you are attending. Events are great times where you have varying personalities and people who are at different points in their lives. Try inspiring someone who is just starting out their journey by offering your email address and support. That being said get inspired by someone who is maybe farther along in their business than you.

 

2. Travel the world

It is a great time to be an entrepreneur. The entire world is trying to be more innovative, which means that more countries are pushing entrepreneurship. This means you have more opportunities to travel the world.

 

For example, want to take a trip to Turkey? Try to attend Startup Turkey and collaborate with some of the most innovative entrepreneurs in the area. The best part of business are the business development connections and partnerships you can forge internationally.

 

3. Learn from others

I love anyone that challenges my thinking. When you bring together like minded individuals with different backgrounds, histories, and paths, great things can happen.

 

One of the conference etiquettes that I live by is to never sit with the same group of people twice. This gives me more of an opportunity to meet others and network. You never know who you will meet.

 

4. Grow your personal brand

No matter which company you stay with, your personal brand is one of the many reasons why people decide to do business with you. The more you meet others, the more your network grows.

 

Want to become a millionaire? Meet and network with more people. As the saying goes, your net worth is your network.

 

5. Access to incredible speakers

Speakers alone are some of the best reasons to attend conferences. I love seeing some of the best speakers of all time talk about up coming trends and patterns that are emerging in their respective fields.

 

For example, if you attended the Launch festival last year, you would have had the opportunity to network with the likes of Mark Cuban, Paul Graham, Jason Calacanis, and the top startups in the world. Where else can you interact with people that could potentially write you a check for your startup?

 

If you were to make these trips alone, if would cost you a trip to Dallas along with San Francisco. And you still may not get to meet them!

 

Thankfully, conferences such as Launch give you the ability to apply for a free ticket if you are a student, or cash strapped entrepreneur!

 

Conclusion

Conferences are some of best times to meet, and get inspired by entrepreneurs globally. Hopefully you will also take advantage conferences, and make the most out of them.

 

Why do you like conferences?

How to create a presentation in less than 30 minutes

As most of you know, I speak quite often at corporate events, conferences, and universities. In my last talk at IIT Bombay, I was asked to give 4 talks in almost a one week notice.

Frankly, I have never had to create that many presentations, rehears, and then perform in such as short amount of time. It was pretty scary if you ask me.

That being said, it worked out, and I did very well.

Through this journey, I wanted to show you how you can also create a beautiful presentation in a fraction of the time you think you probably can.

But first, let me show you a presentation that took me almost 4 hours and one that took me 30 mins.

You can find the first presentation here and my second presentation here.

Same, topic, but different methodology.

Which one do you think took longer?

Here are my suggestions to create a presentation in less than 30 minutes.

 

1.  Figure out what advice you are going to give

The hardest part (and sometimes most exciting) is that there are so many things you can mention and talk about in your presentation.

The hardest part for me is to become scattered brained, and not focus on the most important things, and what you want to actually deliver.

I usually start with a pen and paper, write down my ideas, and how I would like to deliver them. I don’t like restricting my thought process, especially because you never know what will and wont work.

During this process, I keep a few things in mind: 

  1. My audience
  2. My message
  3. My objective

 

2. Pick compelling pictures

One of the biggest lessons I learned after seeing and giving multiple presentations is the amount of words that were on my screen.

At first, I would litter my screen with all sorts of words. After watching presenters, I soon realized that their time would have been better spent if they just sent me their PowerPoint, because it had all the information on it.

This is why I resort to pictures. They are fun, and keep a reader engaged. You can pick almost any picture that does not have a have a copyright. If you do, make sure you give credit to that individual.

 

 

3. Use Canva to create your slides

Okay, time to reveal the secret. My first presentation was the one that took 4 hours to make, but my second presentation was made in Canva.

If you are not a designer (and don’t really wish to pay one) Canva may be the perfect tool for you.

Canva is a great software to drag and drop images and make flawless presentations. I suggest Canva to every single entrepreneur that speaks, because your presentations will look flawless. Better yet, it did not cost me anything.

It probably took me 20 minutes to create the PowerPoint “The Art of Strategy”.

 

4. Practice the key points

Most of the examples that I use in my PowerPoint are tools that I use on a constant basis. This makes it easy to talk about, especially because I already know a lot about the tools.

For that reason, you don’t need to spend hours perfecting each of your points. In fact, it will come so naturally to you that when you go up on stage, it becomes like you are teaching someone one on one.

The way I like to approach presentations is very similar to a discussion that I have with someone. People know you are the boss and have the information to convey. The presenters job is to make the atmosphere conducive so that your audience members can interact with one another, and create a fulfilling event.

 

Disclaimer

Don’t do something just because you think it will attract more individuals. For example, someone once told me to swear more often because it attracts people to listen, and relaxes them.

 

This may be true, but I don’t usually curse, so why should I suddenly do it to get people to listen to me?

 

A great example of cursing is Gary Vaynerchuk. He has the ability to captivate an audience just by being himself, which involves cursing.

 

However, you will never hear anything out of guys like Guy Kawasaki, and Tim Ferris. That’s not their style, so they don’t do it. Be yourself, and your audience will respect you for it.

 

 

Conclusion

Giving presentations is arguably one of my favorite things to do, especially because I can make a lasting impact on a large amount of people, without spending hours of time.

 

What are your tips when creating presentations?

Here is how you know you are marketing in the 21st century

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It’s funny – most entrepreneurs and businesses think that they are founding companies that are successful, and still deploy the same old strategies. 

For example, most companies, not matter how much capital they think they have, still believe that they should invest in old school, capital intensive marketing techniques such as billboards, television advertisements, radio advertisements, and believe it or not, yellow pages.

I understand that many businesses are extremely different, however, the returns on old marketing strategies as mentioned above are not justified by any means.

Instead, your business should incorporate newer strategies that are more relevant and applicable for your costumers in the 21st century. Here is how you know you are marketing in the 21st century.

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Welcome to 2015

[cta id=”{{insert_default}}” align=”right”]Welcome to 2015! Although 2014 was an exciting year, I am optimistic and excited about 2015.

While you are out and about with your friends, family, and loved ones, remember that time is in your side. I challenge you to put down your phones, connect with one another, and focus on maximizing this time for your growth both personally and professionally.

Ever since overworking myself two years ago, I have learned the best ways to balance my time. One thing I am still trying to master is how to remain in the present, while still focusing on the future. 

Based on these goals, here are 5 New Years resolution goals that I have made to myself.

 

1. Send a letter for every business related meeting I have 

After listening to a few Mixergy interviews, I have learned that Andrew sends a letter to every individual that he interviews or meets.

In today’s business world, a simple email can easily be deleted or forgotten. However, a letter is a novelty now a days. 

I am suspecting I can create stronger connections with associated by sending a simple letter thanking them for their time.

 

2. Call one good friend I have kept out of touch with

In a majority of our busy lives, we lose opportunities to keep in touch with people we have known for years. Especially with an extremely busy schedule and more lengthy travel schedule, chances to meet friends face to face become limited.

For this reason, I want to take a step back and try to reconnect with friends. A simple 30 minute call on a Saturday every week is a great opportunity to do this.

 

3. Finish 50 books by 2016

Last month, I mentioned ways to read more books using Audible.com.

After finishing a few books last year, I have realized that it is already difficult to find time to sit and read books, which is why using audible.com is so powerful.

 

4. Stop biting my nails

I have had a nasty habit of biting nails. For some reason, I have been biting nails for so long, that it has become such a bad habit.

In 2015, my goal is to train my mind to not bite my nails. Just like anything, it will be difficult, but I feel that it would be worth it.

 

5. Maintain a weight of 210 pounds

Last year, I lost 50 pounds and was extremely proud of my progress. However, this year, I have skipped a bit and gained some weight. 

Simple enough, my goal is to maintain my weight at 210 pounds.

 

Conclusion

New Years resolutions can be an exciting time for people to tackle things they have been hoping to encounter. Although I am firm believer that the time is now, New Years resolutions can be an awesome time to jump on tough things.

What are your thoughts on my New Years resolution plan? How can we hold each other accountable for our goals?

Office hours are here

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Today, I am introducing a brand new program called office hours. The motivation behind this is for a few reasons. 

  1. To give back to the entrepreneurial community
  2. Learn about the exciting startups that are being built globally
  3. Face time with potential deals for C&M Group 

Part of my motivation for starting office hours was because I was getting many requests wanting facetime with entrepreneurs, or opportunities to give feedback. Office hours will finally be my opportunity to do this.

Are you interested in Office Hours? Here are the steps to get on my calendar.

 

Steps for a meeting with Chirag Kulkarni

  1. Send me an email including the following information;
    1. Your name
    2. Your startup (with website)
    3. What specific areas you want me (yes, me) to look into
    4. A few times that work for you

*International- 7:00 AM till 12 pm 
*US-after 2 pm

2. You will get a (very short) response from me. Work with my assistant to find a time.

 

3. If you are in the US, my assistant will give you my number. All I ask is to call it at the time we are going to chat. If you are international, use my Clarity.fm VIP code (again, this will be free). 

 

4. Try to have your questions ready beforehand. The call will be 30 mins-1 hour, so in order to get the most value, make sure you are clear as to what you want to chat about.

 

Reasons you did not get a response from me/Bad Conduct 

  1. You didn’t follow the steps above
  1. You were not succinct and clear about what you need help with (I’m not trying to be picky, but in order to help as many as possible, I need to be strict about this!)
  1. You want to sell me something (intentionally)
  1. Advertising Opportunities 
  1. Sending me press releases to blog about/ cover your startup
  1. Asking for money

I look forward to chatting with you, and I hope you take advantage of office hours! See you in the new year!

How To Secure Guest Posts On Top Publications (HuffPo, Inc, & Forbes)

This is a guest post by entrepreneur, Tayo Rockson Publisher, and CEO of UYD Magazine, host of the As Told By Nomads Podcast and blogger at tayorockson.com. He describes himself as an untraditional visionary using his DIFFERENCE to make a DIFFERENCE. He was born in Nigeria and raised throughout Africa, Europe, North America and Asia, Tayo’s upbringing as a global nomad and Third Culture Kid gave him a unique perspective on life and he has remained committed to building the next set of global leaders. Tayo has also been mentioned in top publications such as Forbes, Inc, Entrepreneur, and the Huffington Post. 

 

After working with one of the top editors at Inc. magazine and studying the processes of columnists, I was able to see what it takes to rise to the top and become a top columnist.

A top columnist today isn’t what it used to be in the past when t was about having the full back page of a magazine. These days it is about having a regular column ONLINE like Inc., Huffington Post or Entrepreneur. I myself was lucky enough to become a Huffington Post writer myself.

So how can you get become a columnist at a top publication? Here are some steps involved.

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Are you an advisor?

Many entrepreneurs I know love to help other entrepreneurs because it gives them an opportunity to give back to their entrepreneurial community, provide knowledge or expertise to an area they know well, and work with passionate people to bring a product to life.

For most of the startups in the Boston area, advisors are generally the first to provide advice for a growing startup. This awesome because, you are learning from some of the smartest and most successful people out there.

As of now, I am an advisor for 3 companies – BookBoi Inc., Snip.ly, and ACE Global. 2 of these businesses are in ed-tech out of California, and Snip.ly is a social media analytics platform out of Toronto.

As many of you know, C&M Group was founded because some of the companies I was helping out enjoyed my advice. Being on both ends, here are things to keep in mind as an advisor.

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Do you hate school? Check out these alternatives instead

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Recently, I wrote my first article on the Huffington Post. Honestly, it was a lengthy process, with quite a bit of (necessary) editing, but at the end of the day, it felt great to have something out there. 

Believe it or not, it took me almost a year to get this post published in the Huffington Post. 

 

Why did I write this article? 

Throughout my education, I have been exposed to various forms of learning. While speaking and lecturing at different universities, I have become more exposed to university education, and the limitations it provides for students emerging in the workplace later on. 

Although every student is different, I am a firm believer that education should be a combination of experiential and theoretical knowledge. 

 

Do I think education should end?

No, I do not think education should end. However, I do think if educational entities (which have a vested interest to adopt to “students” needs and climb the rankings to increase their endowments) want to be competitive with other firms, they need to innovate and adopt to what people actually want.

Remember, times are very different then the first day Harvard University was founded in 1636. People have different realizations, and demand newer, more applicable education systems. 

Think about it this way. 

Educational entities need to adjust their overall strategy and “jump the curve” to become more competitive and differentiate from other schools. Calculus is the same at Harvard, Penn, Yale, Princeton, University of Kansas, and even nowheristan university.

What sets your university apart?

The “connections?” you make?

Yes, but not enough of a factor for me to shell out $250,000 and more importantly, my time. 

Tell me your thoughts regarding my Huffington Post article, and be sure to comment below our on the post regarding your thoughts about what I mentioned. 

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/chirag-kulkarni/5-nontraditional-educatio_b_6156156.html

Questions you should ask yourself and your cofounder

Entrepreneurs can get persistent very quickly. Especially if there is a gap in their business, from a cofounder end, you should address it immediately.

Although it is important to fill gaps, it is also important to fill those gaps with the right people. “Popular” tech startups (and recently most hyped startups) are led by co-founders versus solopreneurs. 

The inspiration for writing this post actually came from a friend of mine who I went through the CAPS program with. When we were discussing her product, and the team behind it, I realized that we spent a lot of time discussing what being a cofounder really means.

Being from a pure business side, I have had to choose wisely when picking cofounders. Not that many of them have been bad, but many of the times, some cofounders didn’t provide as much to the startup as I would have hoped. Here are some questions you should ask your cofounder (before making them your cofounder).

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10 failures I experienced as an entrepreneur (video)

Last week, I gave a talk at Northeastern University regarding the “Top 10 failures I experienced as an entrepreneur”. This approach to failing came from the numerous videos I watch on YouTube on a daily basis. I am a huge fan of learning from failures, simply because they are the one thing you should try to avoid as much as possible. Here are the 10 failures I experienced as an entrepreneur. Be sure to comment below on what you liked (or more importantly, what I can improve). 

 

How I negotiate deals with startups to Fortune 500s

Lately, I have been approached and asked by many startup entrepreneurs and sales strategists about how I negotiate deals, even when I feel I may be on the losing side. Don’t get me wrong – I lose. However, I would say I don’t lose a deal more than 15% of the time. And that in and of its self are pretty good odds.

I feel like I am pretty good at negotiating, that I can even negotiate ticket lenders to give me the family pass for an event, even though my 3 friends and I look nothing alike.

To clarify, losing is not getting anything out of the deal, short term, or long term. In this blog post, I am going to talk about how I negotiate deals with startups, Fortune 500s, and everyone in between.

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10 easy methods I use to wake up earlier every morning

Waking up in the morning, especially at an early time (I know, that’s relative) can be extremely difficult. People like to take their sweet time in the morning to wake up, which ultimately results in being behind in your life, and daily schedule of tasks (provided you’re a busy person.)For the past 2 years, I have been trying to wake up at around 5:30 AM every single morning. That means, Saturday and Sunday too. A lot of my colleagues and friends tell me that they want to be an early riser, because waking up early increases your chances of being successful.

I have come up with 10 easy methods that I use to wake up earlier every morning. More importantly, these are things that you can also use to become an early riser, instantly. 

Here are 10 easy methods I use to wake up earlier every morning.

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5 reasons you better read books as an entrepreneur

Over the past few months, I have been reading more books than I can imagine. As a kid, I was never into books.

In fact, looking back at my childhood, I find that one of the only books I actually read was the Magic Tree house Series. You won’t believe this, but it was even because I was forced to read the book!

Although I learned this the hard way, reading is a necessity. Even if you think you are smarter than any of the authors (which is probably not the case), you can learn a lot from various mindsets and industries. 

I have never been a big reader, which is why I am so confused as to why I am suddenly reading so many books, and not just that, retaining the knowledge.

This post was mostly inspired by my talk  at Northeastern University regarding my “10 failures I have experienced as an entrepreneur”. Lars King, a Boston based entrepreneur asked me the question “what are your top three books for all entrepreneurs”, and frankly speaking, it took me some time to gather my thoughts.

Here are 5 reasons you better read books if you are an entrepreneur (and an awesome bonus to read if you don’t have time to).

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5 things I learned from hearing Sara Blakely @forbes

Thanks to Forbes, I was invited to attend the Forbes Under 30 summit which brings together some of the most successful and breakthrough individuals on and off the Forbes 30 under 30 list.

Not only is this event amazing because of the interactions with some of the best entrepreneurs, but it also serves as an opportunity to hear some of the most inspirational and successful entrepreneurs.

Out of all of the speakers, my favorite was Sara Blakely, who is the founder of Spanx. Here are some of the key takeaways from the event.

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How companies small and large stay ahead of their competition

This talk was originally delivered in New York City at Fordham University’s MBA program. Fordham University is a premier institution based in New York City. The talks focus was on Tips for Innovation for small and large companies. Chirag Kulkarni has no affiliation with Fordham University and does not endorse its business school in any way.

 

Last week, I was invited to give a talk at Fordham University. Although I do not have a MBA, it was an inspiring moment to deliver a talk to such a diverse group of students.

The students were from all different universities, and were very diverse and ready to listen to different perspectives. 

This blog post serves to translate the presentation that was given at Fordham University, and more specifically, highlight the main points that were mentioned on Tuesday. Here are the tips for innovation; How companies small and large stay ahead of their competition. The presentation slides can be found here. 

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Losing 50 pounds to “Take Off’ For my First 5k

 

 

As most of you can tell, I am a fascinated by health and more personally, weight loss. I have asked my friend, mentor, and co-founder of STR to write his history with weight so he could “take-off” (remember I said he was an aviation geek).

Enter Jaspreet

For as long as I can remember, I’ve had an issue with my weight. As a 20 year old college student I weighed nearly 240 pounds and felt that my weight was getting in the way of my health, productivity at work, and friendships.

I knew that I had to change something. When 2014 rolled around I knew that I wanted to lose at least 50 pounds and run my first 5k before the year ended.

This post chronicles how I achieved both goals ahead of schedule.

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5 lessons learned from AlecStern

Last week, I heard an insightful discussion with Alec Stern, who is the cofounder and Vice President of Strategic Market Development for Constant Contact (Nasdaq: CTCT).

Alec’s talk was centered around the development and early beginnings of Constant Contact, an email marketing, social media marketing, online survey, event marketing, digital storefronts, and local deals tools, primarily to small and medium sized enterprises. 

Funny enough, I have referred Constant Contact to many customers, and have always seen them as an interesting company.

Although Alec Stern may not have founded the sexiest company out there, his teaching and lessons are invaluable, and are completely relevant to company building in the 21st century.

Here are 5 lessons learned from Alec Stern, cofounder of Constant Contact.

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3 of the biggest spaces for innovation

I’ve really enjoyed (but sometimes regretted) my entrepreneurial journey. Overall, I was able to find product market fit, build a few companies, and more importantly, disrupt or impact industries.

Over my time, I have had my ups and downs, but the one thing that keeps me going is my dedication and spirit to move forward, and celebrate the small victories every day. 

After reevaluating some of my business decisions, and businesses that I have been involved with, I realized that I was missing something big – the effort to innovate in spaces that needed the most innovation.

Especially after hearing the discussions by many entrepreneurs, I was propelled to think about the biggest and boldest issues that entrepreneurs should be tackling, but simply aren’t. Here are the three biggest spaces for innovation.

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4 reasons that you should watch YC’s “How to Startup”

Since Tuesday, Y-Combinator, a prominent incubator known for incubating many startup success stories including Reddit, Dropbox, Coinbase, AirBnB, etc. is introducing a new level of transparency for their startup classes. These startup classes touch upon debated topics, and advice from some of tech’s elite entrepreneurs such as Marissa Mayers of Yahoo!, Peter Thiel former co-founder of PayPal, and many more.

This class is taught live at Stanford, but, because Y-Combinator is an innovative organization, they decided to open up their teaching to non-Stanford students. A majority of entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs would immediately jump on this idea, but today, I am going to describe 4 reasons that you should watch YC’s “How to Startup”. Hopefully this post will be a good reason to tune into the events.

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3 ways to innovate without jeopardizing your core?

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Originally, this question was asked to me by a few entrepreneurs, and surprisingly is a question that you can answer on the speakers application form for Lean Startups with Eric Reis. Running C&M Group, this question comes up quite often with a lot of companies that we work with.

Here is the answer to the question How can I create a sandbox for innovation within my organization without putting my core business in jeopardy?

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4 lessons learned from building teams that failed

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Yesterday I sat in on a fireside discussion with Ariel Diaz, the Founder and CEO of Boundless. Ariel is a true entrepreneur who, right out of school, decided to go into the startup world, and hasn’t left since.

Ariel is now a part VC and CEO of Boundless, a free online textbook replacement company, which connects students with a wealth of high quality, openly licensed, and free educational content.

Throughout the journey, he has been surrounded by various teams, most which have done horrible.

When he mentioned this, I was curious to hear his response to why so many founders have a hard time building world class teams. Here are his 4 lessons learned from building teams that failed.

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How to lose 50 pounds in 3 months without any exercise

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Every since I was young, I always struggled with my weight. Not that I was a fat kid, but I was definitely on the huskier side. I’ll never forget when one of the friends Rohit called me fat in 3rd grade, and my mom told him to stop (He actually stopped, and that’s why he is still my friend today).

For the longest time, I knew that I needed to lose weight because I started having some pretty scary issues. For example, at my peak weight, I was diagnosed for high cholesterol, high blood pressure, was called “morbidly Obese, and I even was pre-diabetic. And all of this was extremely scary. I knew there had to be a way out. 

Is it possible to lose 50 pounds of weight in 3 months without any exercise? It sure is, and today, I’m going to take a break from my usual business strategy discussions, and talk about how to lose 50 pounds in 3 months without any exercise. Again, this may sound like a fluke to you, but it is totally possible.

Here are some rules that I followed:

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5 reasons to wake up early every morning

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Most of my friends and family members know I love my sleep. In fact, I don’t think I have met anyone else who does not value his or her sleep. According to a recent study, sleep is one of the most valuable things to an individual. This even came before family, and meat! Well, guess what? If you are an entrepreneur, your business better come before your sleep if you want to be successful! Plain and simple.

So, why do I wake up in the morning? And that to, at 5:30, even on the weekends? Here are 5 reasons to wake up early every morning. Hopefully some of these reasons will encourage some of the people who are not early risers to become early risers.

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8 Business philosophies to live by

As an entrepreneur, you will get many different approaches to how to run your company effectively, or certain mentalities that you should have as an entrepreneur. At the end of the day, it is up to you to decide whether what you are doing makes sense or not.

As it has been said over and over, some of the best advice that I have ever been given has been the simplest. Here are 8 business philosophies to live by as an entrepreneur. Who knows! Maybe one of these will change your life too!

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5 things street vendors taught me about business

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Recently I had a discussion with a younger individual who is an entrepreneur, and asked me to provide some of my top pieces of advice for up and coming entrepreneurs. I am a huge believer that life is a learning process, and it is important to learn from everything you encounter.

I recently took a trip to New York City. If you haven’t been to the Big Apple it is the definition of street vendors with people of all different races, religions, cultures, and ethnicities selling things to make a living for themselves. And, a majority of them are extremely good at what they do. The situation I experienced in New York City is very similar to the experience that I experienced in India.

Here are 5 things that street vendors taught me about business. Disclaimer; just because they are street vendors, doesn’t mean that they are wrong!

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How to get founder interviews

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The media, blogs, and interviews are all things that people dream of. I believe they are for the wrong purposes. The reason I decided to do interviews for various blogs and publications is because I realized that there is immense value in it from a business ROI perspective. For example, one article that I publish has the ability to generate hundreds or thousand social interactions (this includes likes, favorites, retweets, etc.) From there, a handful will contact me regarding tips or help in their business, and maybe one or two will become customers.

Recently, I blogged about the “5 reasons that you should care about your company’s personal brand” and I was appalled by the response that I got. Although we will be covering an article regarding the 5 steps to improve your personal brand, I wanted to address the methods I used/use to get interviews with blogs that have over a thousand readers. Here are my tips to get the founder interview.

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